Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer 2015 Update, Part IV-d: The Kids (J)

Last day of 5th grade.
Our girl, J, is officially a middle schooler! This simply cannot be.  Even though she's been going on 17 for a few years now, I am in great denial.

J is ten -- soon to be 11!  She tells me twenty times a day (at least) that she loves me and she has become a very gifted encourager lifting friends and family members up often and well.

She plays this game on her iPod called Kid Block and recently started posting videos of her block creations (I think it's like the free version of Minecraft for people in the know) and she's been excitedly updating me on how many followers she has for her video series.  She just showed me her account and is up to 79 kids following her in like one week.  Her secret to all those followers is: "I just go to their accounts and tell them nice things in the comments about their videos ... people like to hear what they are doing well."

Yeah, she's wise beyond her years.  People like it when people are nice.  Go figure.

She loves the beach (and sharks, still), but trembles to have to walk on our front porch past spider webs and flying insects.  She is working on being braver, but she is very intimidated by the Texas bugs.  She always asks a brother to escort her when we go to and from the house.  They are patient with her most of the time.

Her love for reading is growing, I think.  Sometimes she's reading something and complaining the whole time and I say, "Why don't you just pick a different book?" and she replies, "Because I need to learn this stuff at some point ... I might as well get through it now."  Haha!  She loves to learn, even when she doesn't care about the subject.  She is really good at cramming a lot of random information into that amazing brain of hers.  She craves information -- via books, museums and documentaries.  She can't get enough of it all.  But if I try to teach her something she just feigns interest or walks away.  Almost all her learning has to be on her own terms.

She did ask and allow me to teach her how to play Scrabble the other day and I was thrilled!  She held her own in the game, too.  But she was annoyed that I was making her do math and add up her scores, so I'm not sure I have a dedicated opponent just yet.  She loves science and has a strong vocabulary, but she could care less about math.

She is still an absolute night owl, which makes things tricky while she shares a room with O -- who is not.  But she is trying to train herself to wake up earlier, get dressed and start the day.  Some days it works out.  Some days she gets up, gets dressed and then climbs into my bed and takes a nap.

She's never needed a lot of friends, she just needs one or two very dedicated and authentic friends.  I love that.  I understand that.  The tricky thing is that while she has found a couple girls she really likes here in Texas, they are public schoolers and run on a whole different schedule.  I have hope she will find a homeschooling friend through the new group.

Her big undertaking lately is learning to be more domestically inclined.  There were a lot of years when we just (jokingly) hoped she'd marry a wealthy man with a houseful of servants because she is really just not interested in chores.  No kids like chores, but she was nearly impossible to convince to participate no matter what the consequence or reward.  But we are finding her niches.  She enjoys dusting and dumping the small trashcans.  She has learned to clean a bathroom and will do this semi-regularly and two days ago, she was reorganizing our pantry shelves.  Very thoroughly!  Pretty soon, she'll learn how to adequately wash a dish.  For now, she doesn't want her fingers touching the water that touches a dirty dish -- even if she just ate out of that very dish.  So she holds the sponge like it has cooties and very little gets scrubbed.  She'll get it.  We're not letting her out of it.  But it is a little humorous watching her in this phase of training.

I have no doubt though, that if there was some crises that required her to clean with confidence, she'd be up to her elbows in dirty water without complaint.  That's her personality.  She just prefers not to be if there are other alternatives.  She's very good in meeting a real need.  But this day-to-day stuff is really not her thing.  (I can relate.)  She'll spend four hours thinking up alternative ways to accomplish a task that she doesn't like doing, rather than just getting it done the way she gets learning done when the book bores her.

She's one of the youngest two, so she has not been heavily relied upon for the household chores and often got assigned to keeping O busy while the bigger kids helped with the real work.  But now that they are both ten, we are trying to rely more on their help -- especially since some of the bigs are busy with their big lives and schedules and aren't always home to do the jobs.

J is such a unique kid.  She's wonderful and frustrating in all sorts of ways.  She's so independent and yet, she probably has the greatest need for and best bond with us as her parents of all the kids.  She's easy to parent and yet, sometimes, she's impossible.  I have no doubt that God has big plans for our girl.  She's got amazing potential if she can just tackle that courage thing.  She can be so timid at times and there's no reason for it!  She's got incredible abilities and wisdom.  I hope she realizes that about herself and learns to walk in confidence all of her days.

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